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There’s nothing more distressing than losing a loved one. Organizing final arrangements and carrying out last wishes are painful for everyone involved, so you should never have to worry about extras nuisances like paying for any leftover medical bills or expenses. In the state of Minnesota, you’re entitled to file a civil suit for “wrongful death” if your family member or loved one passed through no fault of his or her own.
Minnesota law defines a “wrongful death” as one “caused by the wrongful act or omission of any person or corporation.” Wrongful death claims can be filed on the grounds of negligence, but they may also be pursued as the result of intentional acts, even if criminal charges are filed.
Wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury cases in that they’re intended to punish the party at fault for some kind of wrong doing.
However, a wrongful death case can only be pursued if the actions directly contributed to the loss of life. While an injured party may pursue a personal injury claim, the bereaved families or designated trustees are the only ones eligible to pursue damages on behalf of the deceased.
Not everyone can file a wrongful death suit. Usually, you have to prove some sort of connection to the deceased. For example:
These people can recover damages not only for the deceased parties, but for themselves to compensate from losses they suffered as a direct result of their loved one’s death. These can be for medical expenses, earning capacity, and lost wages as well as any emotional or mental distress.
If immediate loved ones don’t want to file a claim themselves, they can appoint a designated party to do it on their behalf. This “trustee” is chosen by a petition signed by family members. This can be an excellent option for family members who don’t wish to suffer from the trauma of additional court proceedings.
In the state of Minnesota, the claims of a wrongful death lawsuit are rewarded in the form of monetary damages – though it’s possible for guilty parties to suffer additional consequences in criminal court proceedings. Minnesota law will dole out damages for:
To recover damages, we prove to the courts that our clients have suffered a loss of money (or other things of value) as a direct result of wrongful death.
The state of Minnesota has a time limit for filing a wrongful death claim, as do all other states. This deadline, referred to as the “statute of limitations,” is three years. In most cases, courts won’t hear wrongful death claims that occur after this timeline, though there are some exceptions (such as after a criminal conviction).
If you think you have a legal basis for a wrongful death claim, we encourage you to contact our office for a free initial consultation and more information. Our compassionate attorneys will review your case and help you through this difficult time.